To get a better perspective on the Browns’ match-up with the Buffalo Bills, I spoke with Paul Miller of the blog Buffalowdown.
Here’s what he had to say (which includes a game prediction that you may feel free to discuss in the comment section):
1. When I look at the weekly match-ups, the Buffalo Bills are no longer a “guaranteed win” for the opponent. What is the single biggest reason for the Bills’ improvement, despite a 2-10 record?
– I could name multiple players that have lent a hand in the Bills’ improvement, but the single biggest reason for the Bills improvement is confidence. Once Ryan Fitzpatrick took under center and started to put points up on the board, everyone around him gained confidence. From the offensive line to linebackers, a team that was 0-8 suddenly felt like they could go out as a unit and win some games. Now unfortunately, this confidence and improvement hasn’t led to a better record, but these aren’t the same old Bills that opponents can circle as an automatic win on their calendars.
2. Are Bills fans over Stevie Johnson’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers yet? Could you give us a little backstory on him?
– I would say yes, every Bills fan is over Johnson’s drop against the Steelers. Don’t get me wrong, it was heartbreaking, but Johnson has done so much this season for the Bills, and the fans are happy just to have a playmaker on the team. This is Johnson’s third year in the league and with the Bills. Coming into this season, Johnson only had 12 catches to his name, and this season alone he has 61 catches with 9 touchdowns, which I’ll say is an incredible jump for his career. I’d say watching T.O play last year and practicing with the veteran definitely helped fine tune Johnson’s game. Of course with that, it looks like T.O’s antics off the field may have rubbed off a bit too on Johnson. But the city of Buffalo is excited to see how far Johnson can go.
3. Do the Bills have their quarterback of the future in Ryan Fitzpatrick?
– Ryan Fitzpatrick has been an amazing fill-in at QB for the Bills, but I do not think the Bills should hand the keys to him for years to come. Although Fitzpatrick has put up decent numbers, his accuracy isn’t the greatest, and he hasn’t been able to put up many wins. I think fans are so excited because it’s been so long since the Bills have had a QB that actually took shots down the field. If the Bills miss out on Luck in the draft, I feel like they still need to draft a QB early on and develop him behind Fitzpatrick.
4. So far, C.J. Spiller has had a disappointing rookie season. How do you see him fitting in with the Bills next season and beyond?
– It’s tough to say Spiller had a bad season simply because he didn’t get the reps a #9 overall picked deserved. I’m not sure what Coach Gailey doesn’t see in him during practice, but he just isn’t getting the touches to show off his skills. That being said, Coach Gailey is known for making the most out of his skilled players (look at Roscoe Parrish’s numbers this year) and I think Spiller will fit in just fine. As long as Fred Jackson stays healthy, Spiller won’t carry a heavy load, but expect Spiller to be used a lot more next season as a RB and WR.
5. So, who wins this one?
– The Browns have been looking strong on the ground this season, which is the Bills’ defensive weakness, but Jake Delhomme turns the ball over too much, and in this game that will be a difference. A Bills defensive touchdown will give them the win in a 24-17 hard fought battle.